I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am to all the writers who wrote posts as part of my Lessons Learned series this year. Each post has been beautiful; each lesson, unique.
Author Elena Aitken is the last writer in this series. And her piece arrived at precisely the right time for me. Because I am struggling with some serious writer’s block. Elena’s words are the greatest gift I could have ever asked for this holiday season.
If you don’t know Elena, you should. A busy mom, Elena is also a wonderful blogging friend and a prolific writer. I was fortunate to interview her when her book Sugar Crash was hot off the press, and she’s written a new book since then!
After you read her piece below, you will want to follow Elena on Facebook or on Twitter. Take a peek at her website if you’d like to subscribe to her blog. Her newest book, Hidden Gifts, would make a great present. Just like your words were to me today, Elena.
A gentle nudge from Renée, “Don’t forget. You promised. Um, can I get that soon?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it. No problem.”
But…it was a problem. The thing is, ever since Renée asked me months ago, I’ve been thinking about what I would write about. I read all the other posts, and…I worried. I mean, what on earth was I going to say? What could I offer that this talented list of writers and bloggers hasn’t already said with more skill and grace then I could hope for?
I made notes. I stared at my computer screen. I started writing five different posts. I deleted five different posts.
And then, I worried some more.
I couldn’t think of a thing. Was it possible that I haven’t learned any lessons at all?
I was moments away from emailing Renée to tell her I’d changed my mind, and I couldn’t do it after all.
And then, there it was.
That voice in my head.
“Trust yourself,” the voice said.
Hearing voices in my head isn’t unusual for me. After all, I’m a writer. I hear voices all the time.
But, I’ve heard those two words before.
• My dad said them when I was learning how to ride a bike.
• Ms. Montgomery, my junior high drama teacher, said them before I went on stage to perform my monologue.
• My mother said them when my twins were newborns, and I didn’t know the first thing about being a mom.
• My writing partners scribble them in the margins of my work when I’m wrestling with a scene, or a character that just won’t cooperate.
• My friend and training partner will say them to me when I’m nervous about a race and doubting my training.
• My husband says them to me when I’m struggling with a tough decision.
That voice in my head is a beautiful medley of all the voices from my life and its tune is constantly changing. But the message remains the same. And every time I hear those words, “Trust yourself.” Whether they are spoken aloud or quietly in my mind—I do.
Because I might not have the right answer, I could make the wrong decision, say something stupid, trip and fall, or make a mistake. But I might not. And when I shut out all the noise telling me what I should say/do/believe, and actually trust myself; it turns out that I know myself a whole lot better than I thought I did.
So, maybe I’m a slow learner, or maybe it’s a lesson worth learning over and over again, but it’s the most important lesson that I continue to learn.
What helps you push through to complete a project?
tweet us at @elenaaitken and @rasjacobson